Leeds United's tour loudmouth, comedian, villain and unseen moments Down Under

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Leeds United's Tour of Australia has come to an end after a hectic two weeks of matches, travelling and supporter events.

The Whites picked up a win over Brisbane Roar on the Gold Coast, lost to Aston Villa in Brisbane and drew with Crystal Palace in Perth.

Jesse Marsch and his men met dignitaries, locals, koalas and hundreds, if not thousands of fans while Down Under.

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Here are the YEP tour awards and some highlights of a memorable fortnight in Oz.

Player of the Tour

Robin Koch was solid throughout and Joe Gelhardt showed how dangerous he is and how hard he's going to push for minutes this season but for consistency and first impressions you cannot look past Rasmus Kristensen.

The Danish international is a big character and a big presence on the right hand side. His aerial prowess was useful in both halves of the pitch and he bombed up and down throughout the games. He looked sharp in training too and fully bedded in with the rest of the squad.Thunder Down Under

Leeds had a number of very vocal players in the travelling party but Tyler Adams rarely seems to take a breath when he's on the pitch, with what at times feels like a near-constant stream of consciousness.

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PLAYER OF THE TOUR: Leeds United's new Danish international right-back Rasmus Kristensen, pictured meeting fans after the victory against Brisbane Roar.
Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.PLAYER OF THE TOUR: Leeds United's new Danish international right-back Rasmus Kristensen, pictured meeting fans after the victory against Brisbane Roar.
Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.
PLAYER OF THE TOUR: Leeds United's new Danish international right-back Rasmus Kristensen, pictured meeting fans after the victory against Brisbane Roar. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.

The midfielder considers himself a leader, he's one of the most outgoing personalities in a lively bunch and talks a good game.

Magic moment

Step forward Illan Meslier with not one, not two, but three magical saves against Aston Villa.

The penalty stop and the rebound he also kept out from Philippe Coutinho were special but the save from a clean-through Ollie Watkins was world class. A reminder of just how good Leeds' 22-year-old goalkeeper really is.

Tour Villain

Jordan Ayew is a man who yearns for confrontation and found it against Leeds on a number of occasions, putting himself in contention for this award.

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John McGinn staked a real claim with that tackle on Archie Gray. There was no red card but it fully deserved the yellow and a deluge of 'Well done, he's 13' Michael Owen memes. Thankfully for all concerned, Gray was absolutely fine and could have played against Palace. To his credit, McGinn sought out the Leeds midfielder's number and made contact after the game to enquire after his welfare.

A surprise outsider for the award was ex-Villa keeper and nice guy Mark Bosnich who led the Leeds press pack on a wild goose chase looking for the Suncorp Stadium press box. Everyone involved knew it wasn't a left turn out of the lifts but no one had the heart to say so.Comedian of the Tour

The player Q and As featured some amusing moments as players gamely answered the good, bad and ugly of supporter questions. Mateusz Klich in particular refused to sugar coat his answers or suffer fools lightly.

An event at the Pig N Whistle Riverside in Brisbane allowed Tony Dorigo to reunite with an Under 12s team-mate who brought along photos of the pair as youngsters. 'God I was a good looking child,' mused Dorigo into the mic. 'What happened?' came a response from the audience.

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The same venue hosted a player meet and greet that featured a truly bizarre tattoo of Illan Meslier kissing Daniel James on the top of his head, prompting the duo to reenact their Brentford dressing room scene.

That event got off to a flier when Liam Cooper generously offered to help Daniel James up onto his admittedly tall seat on the stage. Cooper's tour was a frustrating one with no minutes played and most of his time spent rehabbing in the gym, but if it grated on him he didn't let it show.Unseen moments

From the outset in pre-season Marsch has introduced a competitive edge to training by splitting the squad into three groups. Whether they have been in the gym or out on the pitch, the groups have done battle in drills and games, with Marsch keeping score. At the Cbus Stadium on day one of the tour the three groups had to race down the pitch keeping the ball off the ground between them, before depositing it in a bin.At Fremantle Oval it was a dribbling around poles race.At HBF Park the drill involved two defenders from one group attempting to disrupt the rondo of another and completed passes counted as points. Once the defenders had successfully intervened, two members of that rondo then rushed to the next group's rondo and so on and so forth. To say it was competitive was an understatement. Marc Roca was intent on exploring the flexibility of the rules, attempting to block defenders' route to the centre of his group's rondo and getting physical with Jack Harrison as he himself turned defender. Roca's group, which included Robin Koch, Joe Gelhardt, Mateusz Klich, Tyler Adams, Daniel James and Leo Hjelde, were declared winners and the celebrations were befitting a World Cup or Premier League title triumph.Marsch was right in the thick of it as Leeds United trained at Fremantle Oval, positioning himself in the middle of the pitch as Leeds worked simultaneously on playing out from the back and pressing from the front.The American wanted quick football, one-touch stuff and no dallying in possession so when Darko Gyabi failed to get his pass away and was caught out, Marsch was straight over to talk him through what went wrong and how to fix it.In the very next phase of play the ball came to Gyabi in the middle and the 18-year-old played a lovely first-time ball that found its target, to the vocal delight of his boss.Former Everton, Rangers and England man Gary Stevens and his family paid a visit to Leeds' training session at HBF Park in Perth ahead of the Crystal Place game. In 2021 Stevens and his wife Louise suffered unimaginable pain when their four-year-old son Jack passed away from leukaemia and they have since set up the Forever Four charity to financially support bereaved families, raise awareness over stem cell treatment and encourage football fans to become donors. They and their sons Oliver and Joshua were guests of Leeds and captain Liam Cooper donned their charity's t-shirt for photos, while taking time to chat to the family. Marsch was keen for Joshua to get involved in training, inviting him to help with a finishing drill on Perth Glory's pitch and Pascal Struijk engaged in a nutmeg battle with the Stevens' eldest lad, as a truly brave family watched on proudly. It was a special moment and further evidence of the role football can play in putting much needed and deserved smiles on faces.